Alan George served as the former Church Online Pastor at Life.Church. He currently partners with churches and leaders to help them identify how they can leverage technology to further the Gospel and reach people like never before.
Up until a few decades ago, being a Pastor looked very different. The Pastor of a church was called to be the teacher, the theologian, the one who serves and shepherds the community. Most of the leadership functions happened above the local church level and mainly through the denominations. Today’s Pastors are not just teachers, theologians, and shepherds, but they also need to be strategic in thinking, possibly a building and land developer, people and culture builder, and more. The role has changed and now, we add Digerati to the list.
Digerati - people highly skilled in the processing and manipulation of digital information.
Pastors and church leaders know they cannot ignore leveraging technology but they are not sure where to start. So we bring people onto our teams and we have high expectations as we look at the results that other churches are seeing and hope we experience the same. But things don’t work as linear as we hope they would.
Every church is different. Cities and towns are different. Communities are different. What works in one place may not work everywhere else. So how do we lead in this season of ministry?
We work together.
Digital ministry is still new. No one has figured it out. As someone who has been a Church Online Pastor for almost a decade, I can tell you that the global church is still figuring out how to do this well. And it’s going to take more than one church on an island to figure it out. It’s going to take us working together.
Leaders often don’t work together because they feel like their situation is unique and no one understands what they are going through. They think they need to figure it out by themselves. I must confess, for years, I used to think that way. But that was a very limited way of thinking. The fact that we are different and our churches are different is the very reason we need to find opportunities to learn from others. It’s not necessarily about collective thinking but rather collaborative thinking. When you get a group of leaders together that think differently but in complementary ways, the results could be highly productive.
I’ve had the opportunity to lead a few Pastoral Virtual Roundtables and here’s what I saw in those groups:
Peer Learning and Development Interacting with other pastors and leaders in a virtual roundtable setting creates an environment for mutual learning and growth. They can exchange ideas, discuss insights, and learn from each other's experiences. This collaborative learning fosters a type of growth that cannot happen when a leader leads in isolation. It’s also a great way to learn at the expense of others' mistakes and take innovative steps together and share learnings from those experiences.
Support and Encouragement Pastoral ministry can be challenging and isolating at times and digital ministry is no different. Being part of a pastoral group provides a supportive community where pastors can share their struggles, concerns, and successes. It allows them to receive encouragement, advice, and prayer from others who understand the unique demands and pressures of ministry.
Accountability and Growth A pastoral community provides a context for accountability. Pastors can hold each other accountable for personal and ministry goals, ensuring they stay on track and grow in their faith and ministry effectiveness. It’s exciting for leaders to share with their group what they are going to work on and come back and give an update. This accountability helps pastors maintain healthy habits, address areas of weakness, and pursue ongoing growth.
Collaboration and Partnership By participating in a pastoral virtual roundtable, pastors have opportunities for collaboration and partnership. They can pool resources, share best practices, and even engage in joint initiatives or events. Working together, pastors can accomplish more for the Kingdom of God and have a broader impact on their communities.
As we enter this season of ministry, it is essential for pastors to embrace a mindset of collaborative thinking. By coming together in pastoral communities, pastors can tap into the power of complementary perspectives and innovative approaches, accelerating their growth and learning.
If you are interested in being part of a Pastoral Virtual Roundtable, our Fall Groups are starting soon.
We invite you to join us and experience the benefits of collaboration, support, and growth within a community of like-minded pastors. If you have any questions or would like more information, please feel free to reach out to us.